Education news

As the summer comes to a close, young adults are saying goodbye to their hometowns, families, and friends as they move on to higher education. But for those who are undocumented, the path to college is much more complicated, a process that many take for granted.

In most parts of the country, students without legal status aren’t eligible for financial aid or scholarships. There is also a lack of guidance from parents, because most students are the first generation to attend an American university. Then there is the constant fear of being deported.

On today's Your Call, we’ll have a conversation with educators as they prepare to return to the classroom. With California facing another $20B budget short fall, what are teachers facing this year? If you are a teacher, how are preparing to go back to school and what are you facing? Join us at 10 or email How has teaching changed because of budget cuts? What are you doing to support teachers? It’s Your Call, with Rose Aguilar and you.


Flickr user Max Wolfe

California’s public education system is facing serious challenges. Continuing cuts to funding are fueling changes in many districts around the Bay, like school closures and arts and PE being cut. Two state tax initiatives on the November ballot would partially solve this public school funding crisis. So as we roll into a new school year, we’ve asked education reporter Jen Chien to talk to help us understand what’s happening.

Click the player above to listen to the full report.

Students scale back dreams due to economic reality

Aug 13, 2012

The first time I really noticed budget cuts was when I was a sophomore. My brother Aress was a senior at John O’Connell High School – and quite enthusiastic about going to Chico or San Diego State. My other brother Mario had applied and was accepted to Ex'pression College in the East Bay, a private school. While Aress received the letter for financial aid and added up all the scholarship money, Mario applied for a loan so he could afford to go to his school of choice. Both of them ended up with what seemed like a great deal of money, my family was really happy.

Much of the information young people receive is increasingly, if not exclusively, supplied by the Internet. A big part of this influx of information is from the website Wikipedia. The English-language version of the web-based encyclopedia has more than four million entries – and it is consistently ranked as one of the most visited websites in the world. In the last few years, Wikipedia has started spreading to college classrooms, but not without its share of controversies and concerns.

On the Aug 12 edition of Work with Marty Nemko, I'll talk with Mark Brewer, the respected principal of American Canyon High School about what the job is really like. He has impressed me not only with his ability as a principal but his willingness to be candid. 

In the second half of the show, as usual, you can call in for a Three-Minute Workover. I'll do my best to help you solve your work problem. I'll intersperse my favorite new career tips. 

This show airs Aug. 12, 2012 at 11 am.

What the UC system can learn from Chile

Jun 26, 2012

Campuses have played host to several protests throughout the year, with students outraged over steep rising costs. University officials approved tuition increases of eight to sixteen percent per year for four years. It’s a continuing trend – tuition has risen by more than 300 percent over the last decade, largely the consequence of drops in state funding.

Photo courtesy of Flickr user Steve Rhodes

This past Saturday, over 100 people gathered outside Lakeview Elementary School in Oakland for a rally in support of a sit-in staged by parents, students, and community members. They’re protesting the district’s decision to close five neighborhood elementary schools.

At 8 o’clock on a Tuesday morning, about 400 students stand at attention. They’re outside the Fruitvale Oakland elementary school, Learning Without Limits (LWL). They recite the following vision statement, as they do every day upon arrival: “We stand on the shoulders of those who came before us as we grow into leaders who are passionate and care about making our world better. We are equipped with skills and knowledge, filled with curiosity and we know that even when we face challenges, we will achieve!”

Photo by Denise Tejada

Youth employment in the United States is the lowest it’s been in 60 years, according to the Pew Research Center. Young people graduating from high school struggle to find jobs, and also face brutal college tuition costs. Educators are struggling to really prepare their students in high school for a career.

According to Forbes Magazine, careers in the healthcare sector are among the top recommended jobs for young people, because they include entry level opportunities and don’t always require a college degree.

Courtesy of

This week, the California Department of Education gave us some grim news: according to its biannual report on the financial health of the state’s school systems, nearly one-fifth of school districts in the state face bankruptcy, and that includes six Bay Area districts – four in Santa Clara County and two in San Mateo County.

At Richmond High School during school hours, there is always a police car parked just off the sidewalk that leads to the front doors. Just past the auditorium and administration office, an iron fence stands between visitors and the rest of the school. Many students call it “the prison wall.” This is where more than 1,500 Bay Area teenagers receive their high school education.

Dr. Wes Watkins, IV has built his whole life’s work around the idea that there’s no better example of democracy than a Jazz ensemble. Dr. Watkins is the founder of the Bay Area-based Jazz & Democracy Project. He devised a curriculum that teaches schoolchildren lessons in jazz alongside American history and the democratic process.

On today’s Your Call, we’ll have a conversation about student debt, which has surpassed $1 trillion, exceeding the total amount Americans are carrying on their credit cards. The average college graduate has more than $25,000 in student debt. With jobs hard to find, how are they coping? And who's making money off of student debt? Join us at 10 or email  What's your student debt story? And what are the solutions? It’s Your Call, with Rose Aguilar and you.


New research shows students losing substantial academic ground during the summer months. While funds to summer school continue to dwindle, local districts are finding creative ways to keep their students learning throughout the summer break. Host Joseph Pace and guests Katie Brackenridge of the Partnership for Children and Youth, Lara Fox of the Peninsula Boys and Girls Club and Jane O'Brien of Oakland Unified School District had a great discussion about why summer may no longer be the most overlooked part of the school year.

As the possibility of another $200 million cut in CSU funding looms this year, all eyes are on the November elections to see whether or not voters will approve Governor Jerry Brown’s tax initiative. It would increase taxes by one percent for Californians earning over $250,000, by two percent for those earning $500,000, and temporarily increase the sales tax by half-a-percent. If it’s not approved, CSU funding will be cut.

Potential cuts to Cal Grants trigger protest

Apr 19, 2012


You might think the state’s goal to reduce the deficit estimated to be more than $9.2 billion means two things – taxes will increase or programs will be cut. But is it really that simple? Not really, especially when political gridlock prevents solutions from passing.

According to the anti-bullying organization No Bully, an estimated 160,000 children refuse to go to school on any given day because they dread the physical and verbal aggression of their peers. Tomorrow, students across the country will participate in a national day of silence to call attention to the silencing effect of bullying and harassment in schools.

Twenty-three-year-old Alejandro Jimenez is an honors student at the University of California, Berkeley. He’s scheduled to graduate in May. “And it’s been worth it,” he says. “It’s been tough, but nothing we’re doing or we’re having is easy.”

Thinking outside the boxing ring in East Oakland

Apr 10, 2012

East Oakland can be a tough neighborhood for a kid. It's a landscape designed for industry, not for children, and there aren’t many places to play. But a couple blocks east of the 880 freeway, down 98th avenue, is a little refuge that serves as a second home and playground for the those growing up in East Oakland. It's the East Oakland Boxing Association.

Miss Representation is a new film about the rapid proliferation of media in the 21st Century and how it affects young boys and girls. The film notes that the reach of media today is unprecedented and more pervasive than ever before – and it may be presenting a very skewed portrayal of what it means to be female. Women are only 16 percent of the protagonists in movies and, Miss Representation argues, girls are encouraged by ads, TV and films to achieve an unrealistic standard of beauty at younger and younger ages. Here are some girls talking about how images are affecting them:

European Commission

In last week’s State of the Union address, President Obama proposed something radical, that dropping out of high school no longer be allowed. But that might be complicated. Every school district has tried numerous solutions to the dropout dilemma without success.

The Impact of Sports-Related Head Injuries

Jan 16, 2012
photo courtesy of Mt. Diablo Memory Center

Host: Lauren Meltzer

Producer: Matt Fidler

 Host: Joseph Pace

Producer: Victoria Thorp 

There are more charter schools in California than any other state in the nation. And the Bay Area is home to some of the most well known in the country, such as KIPP, Aspire and Rocketship schools. In this state, charter schools have seen tremendous growth since the first enterprise opened in 1993. Nearly two decades later, charter schools in California number around a thousand and collectively enroll over 400,000 students.

On a typical day at Brightworks, a private school in San Francisco’s Mission District, students are welding, listening to indie music, and writing novels. The school opened its doors last September with a simple goal: trust your kids more.

The total enrollment for Brightworks is 30 students. They range in age from six to 12 years old. Mackenzie Rose-Price is a teacher at Brightworks, but they don’t call her that at the school. Instead, she’s a “collaborator.”

Student Commentaries: Fighting for an education

Dec 28, 2011

This October, Governor Jerry Brown attracted national attention when he signed the California DREAM

In the University of California system, officials are considering raising fees as much as 16% a year through

The education of young people is increasingly, if not exclusively, coming from the internet. And a big part of it is from the website Wikipedia. The English-language version alone has more than three million entries. It’s consistently ranked as one of the most visited websites in the world, after Facebook and before Twitter. And in the last few years, Wikipedia has started spreading to college classrooms, but not without its share of controversies and concerns.

California is home to more than 55,000 foster kids - the largest population in the country. And, the one place in the state where most of those kids come together is in public school. Jetaine Hart, a former foster youth and current educational mentor in Alameda County, argues that’s where we should be putting resources to help foster kids – kids who often shuffle from school to school and have unstable home lives.